In the wake of rising coronavirus cases across Punjab, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) has decided to shut down educational institutions in seven districts of Punjab, including Lahore, from March 15-28.

The districts include Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Gujrat, Multan Rawalpindi and Sialkot where the educational institutions will remain closed. The educational institutions will also be closed for two to three weeks in Islamabad.

Addressing a conference alongside Prime Minister’s health aide Dr Faisal Sultan, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said schools in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan will continue to operate with 50 % attendance because the cases in the provinces weren’t spiking.

Mahmood clarified that the decision will be applicable to all educational institutions, including universities. These restrictions will, however, not be applicable to exams, he said, adding that A-Level, matric and intermediate examinations will be held as per the schedule.

“Schools should monitor the situation themselves and take the necessary decisions.” The decision will be reviewed in the next NCOC meeting on April 12, he added.


The NCOC meeting that was chaired by its chairman Asad Umar also reversed its decision to open marriage halls, cinemas, and shrines. The forum was given comprehensive updates about the coronavirus situation across the country.

In view of prevailing diseases pattern and rising positivity ratio, the NCOC has been decided that strict compliance with mask-wearing will continue across the board. According to the forum, 50 % work from home policy will be implemented on the discretion of federating units. However, it will be enforced in Islamabad with immediate effect.

The government has also decided to restrict commercial activities till 10:00 pm with an immediate effect, as per NCOC. The government has also decided to close amusement parks by 6pm to curb the infections. Meanwhile, an earlier decision to allow indoor weddings from March 15 has also been reversed.

“Earlier decision of allowing indoor weddings, indoor dining and opening of cinemas and Shrines with effect from 15th March 21 has been withdrawn. However, outdoor dining/take away will continue to remain open as per previous practice,” the statement issued by the government body reads.

The outdoor gatherings have also been limited to 300 individuals with the strict enforcement of coronavirus SOPs.

According to the NCOC, the above-mentioned decisions regarding nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are the “base line decisions”.

“Federating units are at liberty to impose stricter NPIs in selected cities keeping in view the local disease spread,” it concluded.


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